The subject of combining food and wine to create a fantastic experience has what seems to be an endless level of philosophies and techniques behind it. Some of the techniques to name a few include:
· Red wine with red meat; white wine with fish.
· Drink what you like with the food that you like.
· Light with light, heavy with heavy.
· Adjust the food with acid and salt to tune the Umami.
· High sugar wine with a lower sugar food.
It seems that the possibilities are endless.
Recently Go-Wine had the honor to meet the inventor behind the food and wine application "Wine it Up", which we felt helps demystify the wine and food experience quite effectively.
Federica Zanghirella of the United Kingdom Sommelier Association is a world class professional committed and passionate about providing a legacy of knowledge to food and beverage professionals across the globe. Federica is Piemontes in origin. Piemonte is a rich center of gastronomy and viticulture in Italy. We are proud to feature Federica’s interview on Go-Wine.Com
GW: How were you first inspired to learn about wine?
FZ: “I was born in a wine producing country therefore it was instinctive to learn about gastronomy. I was inspired by watching my parents. In our home region we learned how to combine food and wine at a very young age.
By the age of 17, I lived in the foodie culture and instead of spending my money going to the movies, I would save my money to dine at Michelin star restaurants. The great balance of the dishes and the excellent wine recommendations in those environments provided a natural training environment.”
“The young development of the palate is essential to a great future development of the skill.”
GW: After your teen years what happened next?
FZ: “I studied Art History and ran my own marketing and graphic design company. I also continued to study the subject of wine and food on my own. This is when I came to the realization that food and wine is an art form as well.
I then pursued and obtained my Sommelier certification in Verona, Italy.”
GW: Now that your tasting skills and wine knowledge were honed what did you decide to do?
FZ: I closed my business, moved to London and joined The UK Sommelier Association.
GW: Who has made the greatest impact on you from the world of wine?
FZ: “When I came to London I was immersed into a culture of people who live and breathe the wine profession. The work of Steven Spurrier, Oz Clarke, Jancis Robinson and my fellow sommeliers around the world have been a great inspiration to me.”
GW: Now that you reside in London, how are the perspectives on food and wine different from where you were raised?
FZ: “In London the specific idea of food and wine is more complex. There is a lot of fusion of cultures so it is easy for people to get lost. The unfortunate outcome is a missed opportunity to have the best food and wine experience possible.
Early on when I lived here, I realized there was a huge knowledge gap in the understanding of food and wine pairing. There are those who know a great deal about the subject, but the majority of consumers are at various levels on the learning curve. Food and wine combining and enjoyment is still a new thing.
There aren’t enough wine professionals to facilitate a great food and wine experience. “
GW: What was your goal behind the creation of Wine It Up!
FZ: Our goal was to fill the knowledge gap. We wanted to create an application that provided a user experience which was intuitive and unintimidating.
GW: What is the fundamental logic behind the app.
FZ: We based it on obtaining some basic information from our consumer. We wanted to construct an app that could get you from A to Z in 5 clicks.
The application obtains the fundamental pieces of information necessary to provide a great food and wine combination. These include how the food was prepared. Grilling or boiling for example. What type of seasoning. pepper, curry, etc. and what the key ingredient in the dish will be.
My main challenge in the development was the sheer number of potential combinations.
My goal was for anyone to achieve a pleasurable food and wine combination. Wine it Up is your portable wine professional you carry with you. It enhances your dining or shopping experience in an unintimidating way.
GW: What type of wines are suggested by Wine it Up?
FZ: The app focuses on the grape variety and regionality not necessarily the producer or vintage. I try to provide a suggestion from Italy, France, the rest of Europe and the rest of the World.
GW: Which food and wine combining theory did you use to support Wine It Up’s decision making tree?
FZ: “The cornerstone of our food and wine method is based on the results of taste science research from a University in Italy in conjunction with the Italian Sommelier Association. Their theory states that food and wine combinations create sensations which create pleasure or create clashes. We pair by concordance or opposition.”
GW: The team at Go-Wine has been teaching about Food and Wine for many decades. This is the first time we have heard about the application of concordance or opposition. Please tell us how this works.
FZ: The theory states that the majority of foods demand an opposite. Here is a breakdown of some food sensations and the suggested wines which favor pleasurable outcome.
The Salty, Acid Sensation
These sensations require a wine with an smooth sensation and or a higher glycerol (i.e., a softer wine).
The Soft Sensation
The soft, slightly sweet or greasy sensation requires a wine with high acidity, and minerality
The Succulent Sensation
Juicy food that induces your mouth to water (eg., Steak, meat stew, mozzarella) requires a wine with perceptibles tannins or higher alcohol..
Others include the Oily, Liquid and the Minerality Sensations. For more information you may reach Federica at Federica Contact at UK Sommelier Association
GW: We actually have been using the app and found the solutions based on your food and wine theory work quite well. We particularly like that the app doesn't simply offer one wine suggestion per dish. We also like the fact that it focuses on regionality and variety instead of brand.
GW: Where do you see the future?
FZ: "We hope to create a You-Tube Channel discussing the Family of Sensations.
We’d like work with other collaborators in the field. Sharing is the key of the future success of food and wine appreciation. Our goal is to communicate as much as possible.
Like a great food and wine marriage our goal is to create balance and harmony not confusion."
GW: Thank you Federica for sharing this fantastic approach which is raising the art of food and wine through an engaging technology and a deeper understanding of our sensations.
By Go-Wine Team November 3, 2017
Image Credit: Twitter | Wine Your Food
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